Push or Pull?: How Branding and Marketing Can Benefit the Undead [part 1]

October 26th, 2009

Haunted House

We live in a time of rapid evolution. Economic models are being turned on their heads. Newspapers are folding. The music industry is being forced to change and Hollywood is sure to follow. But this change isn’t limited to media. It’s also time for your garden-variety undead person to reevaluate how they do things.

Audience: I write this to the hungry zombie who is sitting at home wondering why he/she can’t seem to find any food around the house.

Thesis: The traditional models of 1. limping after people or 2. using a graveyard/haunted house to lure people in are all wrong if your end goal is consume human parts.

Push vs. Pull
There are two methods you can use to get a meal: push or pull.

Traditionally zombies have used push methods to claim their victims, stumbling around the streets hoping one of the fleeing masses trips, making it possible to overtake him or her. That may have been fine in decades past but it’s not cutting it anymore. Nowadays, for the nightmarishly freakish such as yourself, it’s all about The Pull – getting people to come to you.

Besides, if you stay at home instead of wandering the streets you’re much less likely to get shot in the head and die (again).

The method of finding a cemetery or house to “haunt” is becoming a universal tool for all spirits, witches, undead and others who wish to draw in people for entertainment purposes (e.g. to scare them) or due to nutritional needs/insatiable hunger for human flesh. This, however, has severe limitations. That is why we at Richter7 have created marketing and branding techniques to help the struggling undead.

Understand your target audience
The idea of voluntarily entering into a place believed to be haunted is alluring only to stupid teenagers. This seriously limits your target audience. Little kids won’t come visit because it’s too scary and adults won’t come visit because the property looks like it’s in disrepair. The result? You have the strongest, fastest and most difficult-to-capture demographic wandering through your house/grave yard/crypt instead of the old or very young. You’re at an immediate disadvantage.

In addition, teenagers aren’t likely to dare each other to go into haunted places unless it’s near Halloween. This means you have maybe two weeks to capture enough of them to sustain yourself for an entire year (unless someone’s car breaks down in front of your house which, let’s be honest, only happens in movies).

It’s harder than it looks
Catching a year’s supply of food in two weeks isn’t an easy thing to do (trust me) so why put yourself in that position when a little elbow grease could radically improve the quality and frequency of your prey?

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post where you’ll learn specific, actionable items you can take to lure more unsuspecting people into your house for consumption.

Image courtesy of Arnoooo.


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  • I love it. Great way to explain the push vs pull of business. Ever thought of a career as a college professor. At least the class would listen.

  • David Rathbun says:

    You’re very kind. There is already a college professor out there with my name so I’m afraid my options in that field are limited. Because, really, would you want to be the second Professor David Rathbun? Exactly.

    Besides, I think you have to be intelligent to be a professor.

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